Ellen Pompeo on 'Grey's Anatomy' ending for good: 'This year could be it'

The actor's contract is up in a few months.
Image: ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" - Season Fourteen
"Grey's Anatomy" is about to premiere its 17th season.Richard Cartwright / ABC via Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Is season 17 the beginning of the end for "Grey's Anatomy?"

Only time will tell, but the show's leading lady, Ellen Pompeo, isn't sure whether or not she'll stay on after this season wraps up.

“We don’t know when the show is really ending yet,” Pompeo told Variety in a new interview. “But the truth is, this year could be it.”

The 50-year-old has starred as Dr. Meredith Grey since the medical drama debuted in 2005, and the show has remained a hit even after 16 seasons.

The actor's contract is up in a few months and "Grey's Anatomy" creator Shonda Rhimes has said on multiple occasions that she might end the show when Pompeo calls it quits. Naturally, the actor feels a lot of pressure to make the best decision for herself, her co-workers and the show's fans.

“I don’t take the decision lightly,” she said. “We employ a lot of people, and we have a huge platform. And I’m very grateful for it.”

In the meantime, Pompeo is just psyched to be back at work and is focused on making this season a special one.

“You know, I’m just weighing out creatively what can we do,” she said. “I’m really, really, really excited about this season. It’s probably going to be one of our best seasons ever. And I know that sounds nuts to say, but it’s really true.”

During its season 17 premiere on Nov. 12, "Grey's Anatomy" will address the coronavirus pandemic and Pompeo wants to do the subject justice.

“I’m constantly fighting for the show as a whole to be as good as it can be. As a producer, I feel like I have permission to be able to do that,” she said. “I mean, this is the last year of my contract right now. I don’t know that this is the last year? But it could very well could be.”

Eventually, "Grey's Anatomy" will end and when that time comes, Pompeo wants people to remember it for being a show that was all about relationships.

“The show, at its core, brings people together,” she said. “And the fact that people can come together and watch the show, and think about things they may not have ordinarily thought about, or see things normalized and humanized in a way that a lot of people really need to see — it helps you become a better human being. If this show has helped anybody become a better human being, then that’s the legacy I’d love to sit with."